Weakened bones, usually from osteoporosis, can be a scary diagnosis to get from your senior’s doctor. It means she’s more susceptible to broken bones, especially if she should fall. But eating the right foods can help her to strengthen her bones.
Exercise Definitely Helps, but Food Can, Too
Exercise strengthens not only your senior’s muscles, but also her bones. Most doctors recommend weight-bearing exercise to their patients who either have osteoporosis or who are susceptible to it. Your elderly family member’s doctor can let you know how much exercise is right for her. The added benefit to exercise is that your senior may start to crave healthier foods if she’s moving more.
She May Need More Calcium
Calcium has always been the mineral that most people talk about in terms of healthy bones. It’s in milk as well as dark, leafy greens. It’s also in healthy fatty foods, like nuts and fish. Your senior’s body uses calcium as a building block to help keep her bones strong, among other things. Your senior’s doctor might recommend that she takes a calcium supplement as well as eating foods that are high in calcium content.
Vitamin D Works with Calcium
But calcium is only part of the story. Doctors are starting to understand more about how vitamin D works in the body to tackle a variety of issues, bone health among them. Vitamin D helps calcium to absorb better and can help to preserve bone mass. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and dairy products. Going outside in the sun for a few minutes a day can help your senior’s body to make vitamin D. Her doctor may recommend supplementation if her vitamin D levels are low.
Meal Preparation May Be the Problem
The biggest barrier, besides understanding what nutrients can help the most with bone health, might be that cooking and preparing meals can be exhausting for your senior. That’s often the biggest reason for older adults to rely on convenience foods and meals that may not be comprised of the healthiest ingredients. Bringing homecare providers into the picture can change all of that. Homecare providers can cook for your senior and clean up, making eating healthy, bone-strengthening meals easy and delicious.
This can all feel like a big change for your senior. Try introducing healthier meal options slowly to get her used to the idea. Over time she’ll be feeling stronger than ever.